Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Balasore, May 15:
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today successfully test fired indigenously developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile from Abdul Kalam Island (formerly Wheeler Island) off Odisha coast.
The target missile — a modified version of Prithvi mimicking an incoming hostile missile — was launched at 11.15 AM from a naval platform and the interceptor, positioned at launch pad-3 of Integrated Test Range at Abdul Kalam Island, roared into the sky to hit its target at 11:18 AM.
The test has been successful, said a source in the DRDO.
The AAD used its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and radar systems, the source added.
Earlier in April 2015, the AAD missile had failed to hit the target missile during a similar test from the test range. The missile nosedived into Bay of Bengal a few moments after taking off from a mobile launcher. In July 26, 2010 also the test was unsuccessful.
Even though the missile was again tested against an electronic target on November 22, 2015, the actual test targeting a real missile was pending since then as the system was not ready.
Today’s success is likely to pave the way for its induction in the armed forces.
Notably, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) is an anti-ballistic missile designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in the endo-atmosphere at an altitude of 40 km.
It is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator. It weighs around 1.2 tonnes and has a diameter of less than 0.5 m.
Today’s test was the twelfth test of interceptor missiles. Of the 11 tests held earlier, nine have been successful.
The missiles, so far, have been test fired in endo-atmospheric region (below the altitude of 40 km) on eight occasions and three in exo-atmosphere (above an altitude of 80 km) region.
It may also be noted that India has a two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system capable of tracking and destroying incoming hostile missiles at both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth’s atmosphere.
While Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile is intended at high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile — also called Ashwin Ballistic Missile Interceptor — is intended at lower altitude interception.
The two-tiered shield is aimed at intercepting incoming hostile missiles launched at a place up to 5,000 kilometres away.
India is the fourth country to have successfully developed an anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia and Israel.